Grant to Support Region’s Most Costly Emergency Service Users
In its first three years, the project has already saved San Diego $4.5 million
San Diego CA— Today, St. Vincent de Paul Village announced the award of a supportive housing services grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in support of the Project 25 program. Project 25, which targeted a minimum of 25 homeless individuals identified as the most costly, frequent users of publicly funded emergency services, has saved the San Diego community more than $4.5 million to date. The money-saving program, which was once in danger of closing due to a lack of funding, will now be able to expand its efforts thanks to a combination of the $400,000 annual grant, $100,000 in gap funding from United Way of San Diego County and private funding. The grant funding from SAMHSA will fund most of the supportive services while the housing resources will come from 20 rental subsidies designated for chronically homeless through the San Diego Housing Commission.
“Project 25 has demonstrated tremendous success over the past three-and-a-half years,” said Ruth Bruland, executive director for St. Vincent de Paul Village, the organization overseeing Project 25. “We are thrilled to continue this critical work that saves both lives and money. It just makes sense.”
Project 25 began in 2011 as a pilot project to provide housing and wraparound services to homeless people with a history of accessing high-cost, taxpayer-funded services. In this Housing First program, clients receive services including Intensive Case Management, a personalized and comprehensive service plan including substance abuse services, life skills coaching, landlord mediation, transportation assistance, socialization activities, public benefits and health insurance enrollment assistance and employment skills training. In addition, each individual will receive comprehensive health care services including primary care, psychiatric care, dental care, and medication management in close coordination with the St. Vincent de Paul Village Family Health Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC).
Since implementation, Project 25 has had astonishing success, say organizers. One hundred percent of participants were placed in permanent housing and all of those participants have maintained housing for at least six months. In the year prior to program implementation, selected individuals collectively cost the community over $4.2 million dollars. In the second year of Project 25, the same individuals cost the community a little over $1.5 million dollars, saving approximately $2.7 million. The new grant makes it possible to nearly double the number of clients served by Project 25.
Since 2011, St. Vincent de Paul Village has managed and overseen Project 25, a Housing-First program sponsored by the United Way in partnership with the County of San Diego, City of San Diego and the San Diego Housing Commission. It remains a collaboration of hospitals, law enforcement and community services providers dedicated to reducing the high utilization of public and private services by homeless individuals.
The most succinct testament to Project 25’s impact on San Diego comes from Douglas Hutchinson, 53, who was chronically homeless for 25 years before he secured permanent housing through Project 25 in 2011. “First comes the Lord, then the Beatles and then Project 25.”